John Harbaugh is in a very odd spot with the Ravens quarterback position. And the veteran coach, who does not have an entirely secure future when it comes to his time in Baltimore, could end up turning to Joe Flacco if his team continues to struggle.
Harbaugh's team entered halftime down 12-0 and he silently acknowledged to NFL on CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson that he could consider going to Flacco. Harbaugh said he wouldn't answer the question about going to his Super Bowl MVP but understood why Wolfson had to ask.
Read: if things get really desperate, Harbaugh could go to Flacco.
That much seemed to be confirmed when the two teams emerged from halftime and Flacco was warming up, while Jackson sat on the bench with a towel on his head. That sight certainly prompted people to wonder whether the Ravens would be better off with the veteran quarterback.
Yea I think it’s Flacco time.— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) January 6, 2019
It's a real catch-22 for Harbaugh: Jackson is a first-round pick, the future of the franchise and the guy who helped to will the Ravens into the playoffs with an unconventional style of offense that is predicated on his rushing offense. Flacco is gone after this year, his salary too much for the Ravens to deal with given his production.
Benching the first-round pick is something you only do in a total time of desperation. Benching Jackson for Flacco and losing the game would almost ensure Harbaugh's demise in Baltimore. Benching Jackson for Flacco and winning would create the issue of how to handle the offense in the following round.
Putting Jackson on the pine for Flacco might wound the rookie's confidence. Surely it would create conflicting emotions with the fans.
If the Ravens put in Flacco, it's because they believe they need 20+ points to beat the Chargers and can't rely on a run-first offense to come back. Things got interesting on the Chargers' first two drives of the second half. The Chargers had a Desmond King return put them in excellent position, but Badgley had his field goal blocked (and may have missed it anyway).
Then Virgil Green, after the Chargers stopped the Ravens on their first drive, coughed up the ball and put the Ravens in good position to score. Baltimore managed to get a field goal out of it.
On the Chargers' NEXT possession, the Ravens managed to alter a punt (it went 11 yards so it wasn't technically a block) and got the ball back in the Chargers territory.
All of that is why the Ravens can't justifiably go to Flacco. For now.